Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned on Monday he and the outside group, the Senate Leadership Fund, will get involved in the 2022 primary election “if necessary” — a remark that comes as Republicans gear up in hopes of taking back leadership in both the House and Senate.
Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday, McConnell said he the Senate Leadership Fund, a pro-McConnell Super PAC which aims to “build a Republican Senate majority that will defend America from Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats’ destructive far-left agenda,” are willing to get involved in the upcoming election “if necessary.”
“There’s no question that in order to win … you have to appeal to the general election audience,” the Senate minority leader said. “I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Hopefully, we won’t have to intervene, but if we do, we will.”
The PAC confirmed to Axios earlier this month it “reserve[s] the right to intervene in cases where a candidate is a clear threat to lose a seat in a general election and to protect our Republican incumbents.”
Republicans have more of an uphill battle to take the majority merely from a numbers standpoint, as they have 20 seats up for reelection compared to 14 held by Democrats. All the while, Republican primary candidates, such as conservative Alaska Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, hope to unseat establishment incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who has held her seat for two decades.
Notably, former President Trump has taken aim at Murkowski, one of the GOP senators who voted to convict him in the failed Senate impeachment trial, in recent days, blasting her as the “best friend Washington Democrats ever had—and Alaska’s reward for that betrayal is an empowered Left coming after their wealth and jobs.”
“Senator Lisa Murkowski has cost the great people of Alaska billions and billions of dollars by voting for Radical Left Biden appointees, which in turn led to the revocation of ANWR drilling,” Trump said in a statement last week, adding, “Alaskans have been fighting to see [this] happen for six decades.”
“Not only did Murkowski kill the biggest economic stimulant for the State, but also one of the biggest energy producing sites in the world,” he continued, adding, “Nobody thought ANWR could be opened. We got it done, and she allowed it to be killed.”
Other GOP seats up for reelection include Richard Shelby’s (AL), John Boozman’s (AR), Marco Rubio’s (FL), Mike Crapo’s (ID), Todd Young’s (IN), Chuck Grassley’s (IA), Jerry Moran’s (KS), Rand Paul’s (KY), John Neely Kennedy’s (LA), Roy Blunt’s (MO), Richard Burr’s (NC), John Hoeven’s (ND), Rob Portman’s (OH), James Lankford’s (OK), Pat Toomey’s (PA), Tim Scott’s (SC), John Thune’s (SC), Mike Lee’s (UT), and Ron Johnson’s (WI).